Public Comment Period & Hearing: Bus Rapid Transit-related Major Service Changes – Ends February 1st

Pittsburgh Regional Transit (PRT) has provided notice of a public hearing and comment period for the Downtown-Uptown-Oakland Bus Rapid Transit Project and five related major service changes proposed for implementation as early as June 2023 in conjunction with the first phase of constructed.

Click here to view the proposed changes

From PRT: Pursuant to applicable Pittsburgh Regional Transit policy, major service changes affect more than 30% of a route’s daily trips, directional miles or service hours and can also include the addition of a service day to a route. Four of the routes with major service changes for this comment period have a proposed reduction in miles of service; one route has a proposed increase in miles of service; and that route also has proposed additional days of service.

Accordingly, Pittsburgh Regional Transit is conducting a public comment period for the purpose of receiving public comment regarding these proposed major service changes beginning at 9:00 a.m. on Thursday, December 15, 2022, and ending at 5:00 p.m. on Wednesday, February 1, 2023.

Three public hearing sessions were held on Wednesday, January 18, 2023. Public comments are continuing to be accepted through February 1, 2023 via any of the following ways:

  • Written comments submitted online at rideprt.org/brtcomments
  • Written comments sent by U.S. Mail or hand delivery to: Pittsburgh Regional Transit, Attn: BRT Service Changes, Heinz 57 Center, 345 Sixth Avenue, Third Floor, Pittsburgh, PA 15222
  • Oral comments by calling 412-566-5335 and leaving a message on a record line

Click here to view the proposed changes

Summary of changes from the BRT Service Plan website:

Bus Rapid Transit, or BRT, is a high-quality bus-based transit system that delivers fast, comfortable, and cost-effective services via dedicated lanes and frequent operations. While BRT often looks different in each area it's implemented, it generally contains features similar to a light rail or metro system and is therefore more reliable, convenient, and faster than regular bus services. With the right features, BRT can avoid the causes of delay that typically slow regular bus services, such as frequent stops, traffic delays, and fare payment delays.

Overview: Pittsburgh Regional Transit’s Downtown-Uptown-Oakland-East End BRT service plan calls for a "core" service operated across five bus routes that go east to Highland Park, Wilkinsburg, Braddock, and McKeesport. Current regular bus routes 61A, 61B, 61C, 71B and P3 will become BRT routes.

With the infrastructure improvements to implement the BRT service forthcoming, four other bus routes currently serving downtown and uptown will turn around earlier in their routes, with their innermost point becoming Craft Avenue in Oakland, and will no longer directly serve the Uptown and Downtown neighborhoods.  These changes will occur on the 61D, 71A, 71C, and 71D bus routes. A fifth bus route, the P3, will be shortened on its outer end to only go as far west as Wilkinsburg Station along the Martin Luther King, Jr. East Busway and will no longer serve the Swissvale and Rankin communities along the outer edge of the busway. Additionally, the P3 route will be extended from its current inbound/eastern terminus in the Oakland neighborhoods into Uptown and Downtown, so this route will experience two major changes to its service. Weekend service will also be added on the P3 route.  

The changes in route miles and hours on these five bus routes may impact residents and employees along this corridor. The following analyses summarize the potential impacts to those residing in these locations and recommend changes to coincide with these major service changes to mitigate any potential for negative impacts to riders.

61D - Murray: The 61D inbound will serve the Fifth Avenue at Chesterfield Street bus stop, turn left onto Craft Avenue, left onto Forbes, and begin its outbound routing at the Forbes Avenue at Craft Avenue bus stop.

71A - Negley: The 71A inbound will serve the Fifth Avenue at Chesterfield Road bus stop, turn left onto Craft Avenue, turn left again onto Forbes Avenue, and begin its outbound routing at the Forbes Ave at Craft Avenue far side bus stop. It will serve bus stops along Forbes Avenue before turning left onto Bellefield Avenue and right onto Fifth Avenue to continue its normal outbound route beginning at Fifth Avenue at Bellefield Avenue.
 
71C - Point Breeze: The 71C inbound will serve the Fifth Avenue at Chesterfield Road bus stop, turn left onto Craft Avenue, turn left again onto Forbes Avenue, and begin its outbound routing at the Forbes Ave at Craft Avenue far side bus stop. It will serve bus stops along Forbes Avenue before turning left onto Bellefield Avenue and right onto Fifth Avenue to continue its normal outbound route beginning at Fifth Avenue at Bellefield Avenue.
 
71D - Hamilton: The 71D inbound will serve the Fifth Avenue at Chesterfield Street bus stop, turn left onto Craft Avenue, left onto Forbes, and begin its outbound routing at the Forbes Avenue at Craft Avenue bus stop.
 
P3 - East Busway-Oakland: The P3-East Busway-Oakland will have two routing changes:
  • The P3-East Busway-Oakland outbound will terminate at Wilkinsburg Station and will no longer serve Hamnett, Rosslyn, or Swissvale Stations on the East Busway.
  • The P3-East Busway-Oakland inbound will continue to Uptown and Downtown via Fifth Avenue. In downtown Pittsburgh, it will turn right onto Liberty Avenue, right onto Sixth Avenue, left onto Forbes Avenue, and continue outbound on Forbes Avenue through downtown Pittsburgh, Uptown, and Oakland. In Oakland, it will turn left onto Bellefield Avenue and right onto Fifth Avenue to continue its outbound trip.
  • The P3-East Busway-Oakland will operate 30-minute service on Saturdays and Sundays. On Saturdays, the P3 will operate from approximately 6:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. On Sundays, it will operate from approximately 7 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Other Minor Service Changes:
  • 28X-Airport Flyer – No changes currently proposed, but future plans could include shifting the route from Boulevard of the Allies to Fifth and Forbes Avenues.
  • 54-North Side – Oakland – South Side (to North Side) - After crossing the Birmingham Bridge, the 54 will turn right onto Forbes Avenue and turn left onto South Craig Street.
  • 67 Monroeville – A change of routing is being evaluated which would turn the 67 inbound on Fifth Avenue left to cut over to a right on Blvd of the Allies and take Blvd of the Allies inbound all the way to Downtown Pittsburgh. Outbound routing would remain the same.
  • 69 Trafford – A change of routing is being evaluated which would turn the 69 inbound on Fifth Avenue left to cut over to a right on Blvd of the Allies and take Blvd of the Allies inbound all the way to Downtown Pittsburgh. Outbound routing would remain the same.
  • 75-Ellsworth (toward Bakery Square and O'Hara) – After crossing the Birmingham Bridge, the 75 will turn right onto Forbes Avenue, left onto South Bellefield Avenue and right onto Fifth Avenue. No changes proposed for service going to Southside Works.
  • 81-Oak Hill (toward the Hill District) – A change of routing is being evaluated that would move the left turn currently made at the intersection of Forbes Avenue and Bellefield Avenue to the intersection of Forbes Avenue and Oakland Avenue. No changes proposed for service going to the South Side.
  • 83-Bedford Hill (toward the Hill District) – A change of routing is being evaluated that would move the left turn currently made at the intersection of Forbes Avenue and Bellefield Avenue to the intersection of Forbes Avenue and Oakland Avenue. No changes proposed for service going to the South Side.
  • 93-Lawrenceville – Hazelwood (toward Hazelwood) – May be unchanged or rerouted onto South Craig Street for a better connection to Carnegie Mellon University.
  • 93-Lawrenceville – Hazelwood (toward Lawrenceville) – Routing through Oakland shifted from Fifth Avenue between Craft Avenue and South Craig Street to Forbes. At South Craig Street the route would turn left and continue across Fifth Avenue to North Craig Street.
  • The above proposals are subject to change and additional routing changes may be proposed as the BRT project’s construction and post construction phases continue to develop.
Key additional information that details how PRT proposes that the BRT project will improve the transit amenity and reliability experience for all users of the corridor between the three neighborhood areas in the City of Pittsburgh can be found on the PRT website here under the "Additional Information" expandable accordion tab.
 
For exampe, the most notable areas affecting riders who might no longer have a one seat ride include the following – and in the Additional Information section of their site, PRT outlines the weekday boardings in 2022, Routes still serving Downtown in direct (one-seat) trips, Reduction in Direct (one-seat) Downtown trips, and Proposed Schedule Changes to accommodate riders with a one-seat trip:
  • Centre Avenue (Craig to Aiken) through Bloomfield and Shadyside
  • Negley Avenue (Centre to Bryant) through East Liberty, Friendship, Garfield, and Highland Park
  • Hamilton Avenue (Washington to Wood) through Homewood South

According to PRT, the BRT service reductions on the 61D and 71A/C/D, for example, are expected to save approximately 500 vehicle hours per week, and PRT plans to apply the hours saved across four priorities:

  • Add necessary frequency to the 82-Lincoln and 87-Frienship; about 50 hours weekly
  • Improve reliability system-wide by restocking the extra board; up to 275 hours weekly to reduce OS by 1%
  • Restore November 2020 pandemic-related reductions which had a disproportionate burden finding in Title VI where appropriate; including adding 4 additional round trips to 58-Greenfield (~30 hours), adding one additional AM and two PM trips to P7-McKeesport Flyer (~13 hours), and adding about 65 weekly hours from November 2020 changes; though note that 65-Squirrel Hill is not recommended for additions as ridership remains down 80% from pre-pandemic levels and frequent service from Squirrel Hill to Oakland and Downtown exists on other routes
  • Restore 2022 reductions previously made on low-performing routes due to operator shortages
  • New service additions and extensions, with plans to use any remaining available service hours to develop new additions to frequency and/or extensions – more frequency on routes experiencing crowding, extending routes to connect riders to job and shopping centers, or increasing the spsan of service for routes with high late night or early morning ridership